As far as YouTube videos made by teenagers go, Gracie Solomon’s seems a little subdued at first glance.
There’s no lip-syncing to pop music, TikTok choreography or elaborately rehearsed skits with friends. In this video, she sits in a family friend’s living room holding a script, piano music playing softly in the background. She’s deadly serious.
“I just want to say before we get into any of this that it’s coming straight from me — all me — and no one else has told me what to do,” Gracie Solomon says. She looks like a typical 14-year-old: A pair of necklaces dangle around her neck, and a ring adorns her index finger. She is calm and measured as the first bomb drops.
“My brother died protecting me from my father, Aaron Solomon,” she says. “My father is a monster. It makes me want to vomit. I’ve been minimalized, but now I’ve found my voice to be able to tell you that my father raped me, hurt me, and I’m not going to be a victim of this monster. He is a rapist, he is a molester, he is a liar and he is a killer.”
It is an extraordinary set of accusations against someone who spent years on the television screens of many Nashvillians. For 15 years, Aaron Solomon was a sports reporter and morning anchor at WSMV-TV, reading the day’s headlines alongside weather and traffic news, before his departure in 2011. After a short stint in sports radio, he left broadcasting altogether. He has been a financial planner since 2014.
Over the course of the 18-minute video, Gracie Solomon lays out in graphic detail what she says are instances of abuse at the hands of her father. She also details what she says are the problems her brother Grant had with their father as well, before Grant’s death in a strange single-car accident in 2020.
Gracie Solomon’s explosive claims might have stayed within a very small circle had it not been for social media. Between the 12,000-plus views her video has generated on YouTube and the thousands of likes on posts from the Instagram account @freedomforgracie — which consists mainly of clips from the video and other documents supposedly supporting Gracie — the teen’s very serious claims have been made very public since early May. So public, in fact, that her father has gone to court in an attempt to stop the people behind the accounts.
In a filing in Williamson County Circuit Court, Aaron Solomon sued his ex-wife Angie, four others and an unknown set of defendants he hopes to find during discovery in the case (“John Does 1 through 25”) for defamation, false light and invasion of privacy, among other claims. The one person he has not filed suit against? Gracie.
Angie and Aaron Solomon’s divorce was, to put it mildly, contentious. Initiated in 2013 and finalized in 2014, the couple’s Davidson County case file includes 278 entries from a seven-year period as the parties litigated any number of issues, including Aaron’s custody of Grant and Gracie. There have been a number of other post-divorce actions between the couple in Williamson County as well. Aaron Solomon’s suit makes clear that he believes his ex-wife turned his children against him.
“Having been foreclosed from bringing new claims against Mr. Solomon,” the suit reads, “Ms. Solomon and her friends have taken her case to social media, publicly accusing him of egregious crimes such as sexual abuse of his daughter, the attempted murder of Ms. Solomon, and has implied that he murdered his beloved son, Grant, who died tragically in a car accident last year.”
Aaron Solomon’s attorneys say in court records that the abuse claims against him have been adjudicated, citing a Department of Children’s Services case opened during the divorce. Attorneys for Gracie Solomon tell the Scene that a thorough investigation was never performed.
While Aaron Solomon technically retains custodial rights for Gracie, effectively she has lived with her mom for some time now, though a Williamson County juvenile court stepped in last week and placed her with family friends. A temporary restraining order filed in the fall prevents Aaron Solomon from seeing Gracie. Advocates for the teen say they hope this means an investigation will be made into her claims.
Because Aaron Solomon’s suit hinges on Gracie’s speech, all of the defendants except Angie Solomon responded late last week with an anti-SLAPP petition. A relatively new legal alternative in Tennessee, anti-SLAPP measures (the “SLAPP” part stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation”) are meant to counteract lawsuits designed to silence constitutionally protected speech. In his suit, Aaron Solomon has requested permanent injunctions against the defendants from making any statements about the case in public, essentially asking the court to institute prior restraint against their social media. For their part, the defendants filed affidavits with the court that none “operate, maintain or contribute to the Freedom For Gracie account in this dispute.” Gracie also filed an affidavit reiterating her molestation claims, including a detailed account of an alleged rape in a hotel in Asheville, N.C.
The petition places an interesting burden on Aaron Solomon. If the defamation case were to proceed, he would be granted discovery to find evidence to support his claims. But now, the petition will likely force him to show proof immediately or face his suit being dismissed.
“Instead of attacking his daughter’s statements directly, Aaron targeted those who support her, including two recent high school graduates, Wynn Hicks and Anna Smith, and one of each of their parents,” the petition reads. “It is designed to let [the defendants] (and anyone else who does not want to become one of Aaron’s ‘Doe’ defendants) know that he will drag them into court and subject them to potentially ruinous legal costs for speaking out against him.”
Meanwhile, the Instagram account continues posting documents and videos alleging Grant Solomon’s death was suspicious and never investigated by authorities.
And Gracie Solomon?
“Since my video was posted online, I have felt good about it,” the teen told the court. “It hasn’t made me stressed, and I haven’t experienced any bad things as a result. When I spoke to my therapist about it, I told her how empowered I felt by the video, and she said she was proud of me.”